TRAVEL TO RACE: Nutrition Tips
Pertaining to nutrition, the overall mission of an Iron Girl athlete is to develop a healthy relationship with food. Although body composition goals are often primary reasons for embarking in the Iron Girl lifestyle, longevity, performance gains and a commitment to keeping your body healthy are top priorities when creating lifelong, practical dietary habits. For the nutrients that you put into your body will help fuel your fitness routine as well as reducing the risk for disease or illness.
If you prioritize heart-healthy choices on an everyday basis, you should welcome traveling (or when celebrating a special event) as an opportunity to try new foods and to enjoy a temporary change in routine. While it is advisable to maintain a few healthy habits to control blood sugar levels, maintain energy and limit overindulging, it is important to be "ok" with not abiding to your every-day eating routine. By feeling confident with the foods that you put in your body on a daily basis, you should find yourself at ease when eating on the road.
Regardless if you are traveling for an athletic event, for fun or work, a little creativity will help you apply your personal healthy eating habits while on the road. If you haven't quite figured out how to balance everyday eating with eating on the road, here are a few helpful tips to get you started before creating your own routine for traveling nutrition:
1) Plan ahead to have an idea where and when you will eat. Google the surrounding area to have an idea of your dinning/grocery/food options. Do not go into a meal starving.
2) Bring along single-serving and/or portioned-controlled snacks such as fruit, veggies, yogurt, canned fruit/applesauce, trail mix, cereal, string cheese, nuts, homemade granola bars, sandwiches and water (if traveling for an event, don’t forget to bring water for race day!)
3) Pack your own meals for the road. Make your own wrap, bagel or deli sandwich (purchase a quality cooler and/or insulated lunchbox).
4) Be creative. Gas stations typically have microwaves, fill up on gas and cook your oatmeal, minute rice or heat your potato and choice of protein.. Also grocery stores have many pre-chopped/washed options for easy snacking or meal additions. If your hotel doesn't have a microwave/fridge, think outside of the box. Use your ice bucket to keep small items cool and invest in portable electric water kettle for coffee/oatmeal. Don't forget plates/bowls and silverware.
5) Be frugal. If you are going to spend your money on a healthy meal, it’s suggested to pass on the $8 lettuce and tomato salad. Create a meal that will make you feel most satisfied. Consider a yogurt parfait, a PB&J or egg and veggie sandwich at a bagel shop or mix and match at a local grocery store.
6) Snack on fruits and veggies. It's really easy to have a colorless diet when you travel, not to mention lacking in variety. Ask the locals for the nearest grocery store and pick up a few servings of fruits and veggies for a colorful and fibrous snack.
7) Don't forget about protein. It’s really easy to indulge in carbs while on the road (especially if you choose to not eat meat, or a varied diet). Mom-and-pop restaurants (or diners) often cook-to-order. Cottage cheese, yogurt, tofu, skim milk, tofu, veggie burger and egg whites are great sources of protein to add to your meal.